Coraline + Jolene (Cricket’s 7th Birthday Party)


I think most things are pretty magical,

and that it’s less a matter of belief

than it is one of just stopping to notice.



If you know me, you know putting time + attention into details is my love language — but TBH, life has been beyond crazy around here and (for maybe the first time ever?) Cricket’s 7th birthday snuck up on me!

Luckily, now that the girls are getting older, we’re headed into the smaller-parties-with-just-BFFs phase, which I’ve always known was coming but haven’t looked forward to entirely. (I mean, the bigger the better; the more people the more fun, right? I hate the idea of someone being left out, and I love creating experiences that are meant to be SHARED, so…)

But here we are, and this year I’m thankful that my big-emotions, center-of-attention littlest requested a slumber party with just her ride-or-die Sister Squad (the same four friends you’ve seen in about 90% of our pictures).

Cricket asked for a “Coraline” theme — a challenge considering she’s not even allowed to watch the creepy Tim Burton + Neil Gaiman movie yet! (The idea came about because she’d seen a few less-scary clips on YouTube recently and fell in love.) So here we are — a small-scale Coraline-ish theme, thrown together last-minute (as in, I painted that door about two hours before the festivities began), focusing on the fun side of the storyline (and less on the creepy-family-tries-to-kidnap-you-and-sew-buttons-on-your-eyes side)…and it was perfect. The look on Cricket’s face when she saw our dining room dressed up in black + blue + buttons was entirely worth the effort, like always!

I guess the point is this — despite the mess of frosting, rock candy, acrylic paint and popped balloons that awaited my attention the next morning (which began at 6 a.m. as the littlest party guest woke everyone up with the urgent announcement that she “has a boyfriend”), I can’t help but feel in looking back at the memory of it all, that most things are magical.

It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with being a girl mom — it’s everything I never knew I needed — and last night, as the girls sang Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” at the top of their lungs, practiced low-level cheer moves, danced like maniacs, and showed off their crafting prowess, I couldn’t have been happier because they couldn’t have been happier.

Happy birthday, Cricket Ann Shove!

Meanwhile, in the kitchen…

(extra orange bitters, please, because I’m a wimp)

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